Commissioner for Information and Strategy Gbenga Omotoso stated that Governor Babajide Olusola Sanwo-Olu did not prevent any first-year #EndSARS memorial event from taking place.
According to the Commissioner, the Governor supports free speech and citizens’ freedom to protest.
Following a claim that the Governor asked the owners of Landmark Events Centre to ban event organizers from using their facilities, Omotoso was answering to questions on Arise TV Morning Show today.
According to Omotoso, such an incident never occurred.
Governor Sanwo-Olu, he claims, personally called the proprietors of Landmark when the word spread to find out what had transpired.
Omotoso said: “The owners of Landmark confirmed that it was purely a business decision taken to safeguard their customers and property because they do not know where it could end like what happened last year.”
With the Governor, Omotoso said, were some leaders of the #EndSARS protests. They heard the conversation between the Governor and the event centre owners.
Asked why proponents of the #EndSARS memorial were not invited to the Lagos Youth Symposium organised by the State to interact with youths, Omotoso said the event was open to all, “an all-comers affair”.
He spoke of how he personally invited some of them, who he said declined the invitation “because they had their own events.”
Confirming that there was also an element of protest at the youth symposium by some physically challenged persons, the blind and students, Omotoso said “despite the unruly behaviour of some of the attendees, Mr. Governor still listened to them and gave them the opportunity to speak.”
While reacting to a question about scenes of policemen intimidating protesters at the Lekki Toll Gate earlier in the day, the Commissioner maintained that there was no justification for such but some officers could be overzealous due to individual traits.
He reiterated that people have a right to protest, just as it is also the job of the Police to provide protection.
“Mr. Governor will always allow free speech. He can only advise the Commissioner of Police who doesn’t report to him”, Omotoso said.